“Mentimeter offers highly-customisable activities which can facilitate an instant analysis of responses, provide downloadable data sets and create an interactive teaching and learning experience for groups of varying sizes.”
Chris Little has published a technology review of Mentimeter, highlighting the wide range of available question types that allows the instructor to create engaging learning activities. Mentimeter makes it easy for teachers to adapt the interactive presentation tool in their teaching, thanks to the smooth user interface and effortless creation of quizzes. The students can use their own mobile devices without pre-installing anything, which makes for easy setup and lowers the logistical burden on the instructor compared to audience response systems that adapt clickers. Using Mentimeter can help create feedback loops between students and teacher throughout the learning session.
In their study, Davina Hill from the Department of Science and Kelly Fielden from the Department of Health at the University of Cumbria have explored the Quiz feature in Mentimeter, focusing on students’ perceptions and engagement. In a group of 22 students, they found that although lecture attendance decreased over time, the proportion of attending students that participated in the quizzes did not. The findings from the following questionnaire suggest that students think that interactive online quizzes are a fun way to break up lectures and that it helps them consolidate learning. 76.5 % of students responded to the questionnaire, and they all said they would recommend Mentimeter for other lectures.
In the second part of the study, Hill and Fielden used Mentimeter for gathering anonymous questions from students during a Q&A session. Students’ perceptions of this feature were investigated in a series of closed and open questions, with 6 of 14 students participating in the questionnaire. The respondents recognise that their confidence in posing questions depends on the setting (i.e. higher fear of embarrassment in smaller groups) and appreciate that Mentimeter allows them to be heard in a safe way. This is how one of the students puts it:
“Yes, I feel it’s important that the least vocal of us are given the opportunity to have our voice heard as some members of the group can often dominate classes with questions and information that isn’t really relevant to the topic.”
“The variety of question styles moves beyond simple yes or no answers, which enables deeper learning and provides a range of formative assessment options seamlessly embedded in the lecture allowing for instant feedback on learner understanding.”
In a case study by Skoyles and Bloxsidge (2017), the authors report how they felt frustrated by the non-interactive traditional lecture style that merely engaged the front two rows of students. They noted that many students already used their phones and computers during class and decided to take advantage of it. Using Mentimeter, they redesigned a large lecture on the OSCOLA reference system to adapt more interactive teaching. They could also use Mentimeter to immediately elicit feedback from the students on the lecture and the majority of students that participated expressed positive views. Skoyles and Bloxsidge discuss further how using an audience response system impact the teacher’s attitude and role during a learning session. Mentimeter prompts the teacher to rethink their way of delivering the content and take advantage of the interactive features. This enables a switch from a traditional, teacher-centred, lecture-style to a less passive approach.
“The introduction and use of any audience response system will not guarantee an improved student learning experience without some practical and pedagogic thinking.”
Emma Mayhew’s review explores how to optimize the introduction and use of Mentimeter, focusing on both practical and pedagogical aspects. She recognises the potential of the integrated audience response system and presentation software in Mentimeter, which makes the tool user-friendly because of its familiar look and features. Mentimeter offers several question formats beyond the traditional multiple-choice, giving more freedom to the practitioners and their judgement. Mayhew argues for the importance of investing time in developing pedagogically sound Mentimeter activities. Questions should have a clear learning purpose, encourage interaction and discussion and explore links between concepts and ideas. It is also essential to allow time for discussion of the voting results and be prepared to explore any issues that may arise. This means that the teacher needs to be confident in having somewhat less control in return for more student-centred instruction.
“Technology is a mere enabler of best practices in teaching and learning, and we believe that the facilitator (a.k.a. lecturer a.k.a. teacher a.k.a. tutor) remains absolutely critical for positive student outcomes in the context of constructive alignment.”
As multiple other papers, Rudolph’s review points out the benefit of the bring your own device (BYOD) characteristic as it reduces costs for both institutions and students. Traditional audience response systems require access to specific hardware, and sometimes the students must purchase the clickers themselves. Mentimeter is freemium and device-agnostic with no installation needed, which means that the students can use any device that has an internet connection.
It is common to raise concerns about cell phone use in classrooms. Some teachers find it disruptive, and students can quickly lose their attention during class. Rudolph recognises the negative effects of the off-task use of cellphones on knowledge retention and students’ performance. However, he argues for using devices for educational purposes, transforming the problem into an opportunity and stresses the importance of the facilitator for positive outcomes. Rudolph notes that it is usually only a small group of students that answer the oral questions posed by the teacher. With Mentimeter, the chance that almost everyone participates is much higher.
“The authors propose training more students to use this technology in their group presentations; in fact, some of our teacher-training students have been inspired enough by Mentimeter that they have gone on to use it in school whilst on placement.”
Katharine Vallely and Poppy Gibson’s review covers some examples of possible applications of Mentimeter in lectures and seminars in the Teacher Education Department at the University of Greenwich. As the above quote states, adapting Mentimeter in the instruction in degree programs in education has spurred interest among the students to use the tool themselves during their teacher placement.
Vallely and Gibson present three strategies that can be supported by Mentimeter to engage students: “gauging opinion”, “engaging discussion”, and “voicing concerns”. Gauging opinion can, for instance, be done with the Scales question type to identify gaps in students’ knowledge and to adjust the curriculum accordingly. The authors state that “the tool has proved useful for asynchronously collecting student responses and using these to shape future teaching”, thus demonstrating the opportunity of using Mentimeter for formative assessment. Word cloud or Open-ended questions can be used as prompts for engaging discussion and initiating debate. The instructors can also give students opportunities to anonymously voice concerns and collect real-time feedback, which further supports dialogic teaching as opposed to purely teacher-centred instruction.
“For academics and students, the simple format and facilitation of deep learning opportunities mean that the benefits far outweigh some of the minor areas for development and I am excited to know what next lies in store in Mentimeter’s offering.”
In a review in the Academy of Management Learning & Education journal, Louisa Hill proposes that an audience response system is a useful tool for engaging students and presents some use cases for Mentimeter in large lectures. She states that because of their scalability, large lectures continue to dominate higher education as they are a cost-effective arrangement. However, they easily fail to engage students in active learning. Hill has observed that using Mentimeter leads to increased student satisfaction and active participation, which can be attributed to the anonymised format of the interactive questions. The range of possibilities for educators to utilise Mentimeter for didactic purposes is broad. The Quiz feature can be used for testing students’ understanding, Word cloud is suitable for ice breakers and initiating further discussion, and Open-ended questions collect opinions and visualise those for the audience. This review agrees with previous research on audience response systems that the crucial part is how educators choose to use the tool and how it supports their pedagogical intentions.
“The use of student response systems needs to be integrated across the curriculum so that both students and lecturers are effortlessly using it to better the learning and teaching experience.”
Astrid Wood’s study evaluates the impact of Mentimeter on student engagement and efficiency in large lectures. The study was conducted over three academic years, where Wood posed questions with Mentimeter in each lecture in an advanced undergraduate urban development geography module. The participation percentages varied from a minimum of 40 % to a maximum of 84 %. A sample of the students was also surveyed on their experiences using audience response systems. Finally, Wood conducted focus group interviews with staff and with students to assess their attitudes towards audience response systems. The findings show a somewhat reluctant approach on both sides. The students express that they want more active learning in their lectures but are not always eager to participate. As for the staff, “in theory, they say that they want contingent teaching but when presented with the opportunity, it can be overly demanding.” As suggested by previous research on audience response systems, Wood’s study indicates that anonymity provided by Mentimeter creates a safe environment for students to interact with the material without fear of judgement.
“Due to its versatility and the unlimited number of participants, we believe Mentimeter has great potential in the English for Academic Purposes/English for Specific Purposes classroom.”
The practice of teachers nominating students to respond or relying on them volunteering to answer questions lead to students being “put on the spot” or that only a small portion of the students participate. Moorhouse and Kohnke’s review explores different features in Mentimeter and potential for use in in the English classroom. There are multiple possible applications thanks to the wide variety of question types. Mentimeter can be used to break up teacher-centred monologues, thus maintaining student engagement. Displaying the responses can stimulate further discussion and support the instructor in incorporating students’ ideas in the lesson. As it can be difficult for teachers to evaluate how much the students understand of the material, Mentimeter can help with assessing knowledge.